How to better balance home, work and school
Whenever you identify a breakdown in your life, it can be helpful to target that problem with a new and improved system. From clutter accumulating in your entryway and last-minute cramming for tests, to missing your kids’ school correspondence, here are a few tips for how to find more balance in your life:
Prioritize each day
Set aside time to assess your schedule and identify your top three priorities daily, whether in the home, work or school realm. Get those done first. That way, you’ve tackled the must-dos, even if you don’t end up making it to the bottom of your to-do list.
Don’t answer texts/calls/emails immediately
If you have to, turn off alerts or the ringer so you can remain focused on your priorities. Try to deal with what others need from you later during a scheduled return-correspondence session.
Get an early start
Whether you’re working on a paper or just getting out the door in the morning, get in the habit of overestimating the time needed. That way, when writing takes longer than you thought or your child gets sick, you’ll have the time to spare.
Schedule time for what’s important
Whether it’s studying, calling a friend or playing a game with the kids, put it on the calendar. If it’s important, it deserves the courtesy of its own scheduled date to help prevent it from getting lost in the shuffle of all the many other things vying for your time and attention.
Focus on what you’re doing
Work when you work. Study when you study. Be with the kids when you’re with the kids. When it feels difficult, remember this: Being distracted detracts from whatever you’re doing now without actually helping work toward whatever it is you’re distracted by.
Be more conscious about what you decide to do daily. Before you join that committee, log onto social media or commit to the bake sale, pause to think about what the time commitment means you’ll have to give up. An hour of studying? Family time? Sleep? Only say “yes” if it’s really worth it.
Try keeping a special bag hanging by the door for designated wait-time to-dos — school reading, thank you notes, your family calendar and more. Grab it on your way out so you’re never stuck at the dentist’s office, carpool line or restaurant twiddling your thumbs (or, more likely, scrolling through social media) when you could be getting things done.
Think “big picture”
It’s physically impossible to get a lot done for work and home and school in one day, so stop putting pressure on yourself to do so. Focusing on one area means you’ll naturally focus less on the other two — and that’s OK. Take a deep breath, and then give today’s neglected area(s) the time they deserve when your schedule allows for it.
Whether it’s tidying your home or waking up early to study for an hour the entire week before tests, one thing is for sure — taking action is the first step toward feeling (and being) in control.